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Scientists urged to uphold research conduct, ethics

By ZHANG ZHIHAO | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-11-18 08:50
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A researcher works at the innovation platform for Hutchison China Meditech Ltd in Shanghai's Zhangjiang High-tech Park. [Photo provided to]

The Chinese scientific community should uphold the scientific spirit and improve its research conduct and ethics, which would allow it to keep pushing the boundaries of science to better serve the country and its people, scientists said on Tuesday.

The scientific spirit is a collection of top qualities that all science workers should aspire to, they added. It includes patriotism, self-sacrifice, honesty, modesty, diligence, curiosity and the endless pursuit of truth to contribute to China and the world.

Yuan Yaxiang, a researcher at the Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the love for the country and its people is the most important quality that all science workers should have.

"Science has no boundaries, but scientists have nationalities," Yuan said during a news conference hosted by the State Council Information Office.

"Many original breakthroughs are generated from doing basic research, which can be a very arduous process that may not produce useful applications in the short term," he said.

China currently has many technical challenges and needs that are limiting its socioeconomic development, which are commonly called "bottleneck issues", Yuan said, adding that many of these issues are historical challenges that require decades of effort to overcome.

Guo Shaojun, a professor of materials science at Peking University, said the spirit of innovation should punctuate every step of the scientific process, from basic research to applications.

This will require more policy planning and support that can pool researchers and resources together to focus on certain fields, he said. At the same time, companies and universities should shoulder more responsibility in conducting basic research.

Yao Tandong, noted glaciologist and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said studying climate change and environmental protection on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau are crucial research topics that have global implications.

Yao said doing geological field work on the "Roof of the World" is very difficult and tiring, but "it is a mission of national importance because we need to know how the environment is changing, which will help us predict natural disasters."

Huo Shouliang, a researcher at the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, said environmental protection is a multidisciplinary field that requires all scientists involved to work hard and contribute to making China green and sustainable.

"It is a hard research topic, but if the nation needs us to tackle it, we will answer the call," he said.

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